exa

Environment variables

The other way to configure exa is through environment variables.

Usually, if you want to change exa’s behaviour, you pass in a different command-line argument, or go to a different directory. Environment variables, on the other hand, are used to configure rarely-changed settings, override information usually provided by the OS, and change the way the command-line arguments are parsed.

You can run a one-off command with a different variable set by using the env command:

env TIME-STYLE="iso" exa

Setting these variables permanently depends on your shell and OS, but will probably involve editing a configuration file.

COLUMNS

Overrides the width of the terminal, in characters, when using a grid view. For example, with COLUMNS=80, exa will show a grid no more than 80 characters wide.

This option won’t do anything when not displaying files in a grid — all the other output modes don’t need to wrap.

TIME_STYLE

Sets how to format the time used in the long view’s time column.

This follows the same rules as the --time-style option, and will be overridden if one is specified.

EXA_STRICT

Enables strict mode, which will make exa error when two command-line options are incompatible.

Usually, options can override each other going right-to-left on the command line. For example, the following command will sort by size rather than ext, because it’s the option specified second:

exa --sort=ext --sort=size

In strict mode, the two options will not co-operate, and exa will error.

This option is intended for use with automated scripts and other situations where you want to be certain you’re typing in the right command.

EXA_GRID_ROWS

Limits the grid-details view (exa --grid --long) so it’s only activated when at least the given number of rows of output would be generated.

When displaying a small directory on a widescreen monitor, it’s possible for the grid to look very wide and sparse, on just one or two lines with none of the columns lining up. By specifying a minimum number of rows, you can only use the view if it’s going to be worth using.

LS_COLORS and EXA_COLORS

The LS_COLORS variable is the traditional way of customising the colours used by ls, and EXA_COLORS adds exa-specific extensions.

For more information, see the Colour themes page.